Roscoe Lewis Newton Millett was born June 1, 1922, to Lee and Ada Millett on the family farm near Springdale, Iowa. He lived nearly his whole life under the giant oak tree that marked the home place and came to represent the strength and beauty of the life he led. He died peacefully on April 2, 2020, in the loving care of the Crestview Specialty Care staff, with family at his side.
Roscoe was a 1940 graduate of Springdale High School. In 1941, he enrolled at William Penn College (now William Penn University), where he met Helen Maxwell of Earlham, Iowa. They were married in June 1945 and enjoyed 71 years together. In 1944, Roscoe enlisted in the Navy and was stationed in Pensacola, Fla. After his service, Roscoe and Helen returned to the family farm, where he worked with his brother Ray in the farming operation, until Ray died in 2014. Together, they raised a quality herd of black angus cattle.
Roscoe delighted in his daughters, Elaine, Gwen and Marilyn, loving them unconditionally, making sure their bows were tied just right and their shoes were polished. He was abundantly blessed with his six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, who received his unfailing support in all their various life pursuits and travels. He especially enjoyed their musical talents, which he and Helen cultivated early on, and was a big fan at their sporting events. Roscoe enjoyed bowling throughout his life and continued bowling with senior friends to the age of 96.
Education was very important to Roscoe, and over the years he committed to this by serving on the West Branch school board as well as the William Penn University board of trustees, serving both as president for many years. In recognition of this service, he was awarded with an honorary degree as Doctor of Humane Letters in 1991. He was a lifelong fan of the WB Bears and the Iowa Hawkeyes and he continued to support local students by his attendance at sporting events until his health no longer allowed.
As a birthright Quaker, Roscoe faithfully served the church his whole life. He served on various committees in his beloved West Branch Friends Church and continued to lead pre-worship singing there until shortly before his death. Roscoe loved music and nurtured musical gifts in his family members. He will be remembered for his gift of whistling, his sense of humor, his community service and his gift of being a friend to all.
Roscoe was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Helen; his parents; siblings; and son-in-law, Falaniko Senio.
He is survived by daughters, Elaine Wedeking (Des Moines), Gwen Senio (West Branch), and Marilyn (Mark) Alvarez (Tallahassee, Fla.); grandchildren, Tony (Erin) Senio (West Branch), Malia Senio (Aiken, S.C.), Eric (Stacey) Alvarez (West Branch), Henry Alvarez (De Land, Fla.), and Suzanne Wedeking and Ben Wedeking (Des Moines); son-in-law, Bill Wedeking (Des Moines); seven great-grandchildren; and numerous cherished nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be planned in the future. Memorials may be directed to William Penn University for the Millett Family Endowed Scholarship. Henderson-Barker Funeral Home in West Branch is caring for Roscoe's family.